Sciatica and lower back pain is very common, and often times caused by irritation or compression of the lower back nerve. Sciatica pain is typically felt from the low back to behind the thigh and radiating down below the knee.
Common symptoms of sciatica include:
Lower back pain
Pain in the rear or leg that is worse when sitting
Burning or tingling down the leg
Weakness, numbness, or difficulty moving the leg or foot
A constant pain on one side of the rear
A shooting pain that makes it difficult to stand up
Sciatica can be a result of various factors, including:
Slipped disc (90% of cases)
A direct injury
Spondylolisthesis (or a slipped vertebrae)
Spinal stenosis (it is the narrowing of the spinal cord passage)
Cauda equine syndrome
While sciatica can be unpredictable, the following may help prevent sciatica / lower back pain:
Exercise regularly to strengthen the back muscles
Sleep on a firm mattress
Practice good posture
Properly adjust your car seat for lower lumbar back support
Practice proper technique when lifting
6 Exercises For Sciatica and Lower Back Pain
Standing Hamstring Stretch Exercise
While standing, simply bend forward at the waist with arms hanging down and with legs relatively straight. Try to touch the toes but do not strain to do so. Stop when a stretch is felt in the hamstring.
Knee Lifts Exercise
Lie on the back, with the knees, bent to a 90-degree angle. The arms should be flat by the sides. Elevate the legs until they are at a foot height from the floor, and gently lower them. Make 5 repetitions.
Piriformis Stretch Exercise
Lie on the back with the legs flat. Pull the affected leg up toward the chest, holding the knee with the hand on the same side of the body and grasping the ankle with the other hand. Trying to lead with the ankle, pull the knee towards the opposite ankle until stretch is felt. Do not force ankle or knee beyond stretch. Hold for 30 seconds, then slowly return to starting position. Do your best to complete a set of three stretches.
Knee To Chest Stretch Exercise
While lying on the back, bend the knees to a 90-degree angle, while the feet are firm on the floor. Then, wrap the hands around one knee and pull it to the chest. Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat with the other leg.
Gluteal Stretch Exercise
Lie on the back, with the knees, bent to a 90-degree angle. Elevate left leg and rest the ankle on your right thigh. Next, wrap the hands around the right thigh, pull it close to your body, and hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat this 3 times, and then switch legs.
Back Extensions Exercise
Lie face down and keep the feet and hands flat on the floor. Keep the fingertips at an eye level. Push the hands to arch the back, hold for 5-10 seconds. Lower the back to the ground and complete 10 repetitions.
Sciatica affects nearly 40% of people in their lifetime, and if you’re reading this, you’re likely one of them.
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